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First Long Road Trip - Need Advice

by Bonnie
(Courtenay, BC, Canada)

Hello ladies:
I am in my third year of riding and I ride a Suzuki Boulevard S40. I know she is considered a "beginner bike", but I love her ;) My husband and I have done overnight trips, etc. but this August we are planning our first week trip. We live on Vancouver Island, BC and our route will take us to Kelowna, Banff, Jasper, Kamploops, Whistler and then to Victoria, BC for the Labour Day long weekend / Blues fesitval. My husband rides a Suzuki VStrom so he will be carrying a lot more than me ;) My fear is the mountains and the curves...I don't know why. I am a cautious rider, I am "all the gear, all the time", I do RIDE MY OWN RIDE, and I don't speed. I do look through my curves and always look at the horizon. I said to my husband, I don't care if I am doing 40-50 kms around curves...the people behind can enjoy the scenery until I get to the straights where they can pass me. But I am scared because of the "unknown". I am getting more confident everytime I get out there and ride, but I don't want my nerves to get the best of me. We also have bluetooth communication system so we can easily talk back/forth to each other which will help me.

So for all the ladies who have gone through the Rockies or any mountain riding, taken week long trips, I WELCOME ALL tips/tricks.

Thanks ladies, this site has always helped me.

Enjoy your summer and the open air!

Cheers,
Bonnie

Comments for First Long Road Trip - Need Advice

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Jul 05, 2013
Scared of the twisties
by: Stephanie

On my very first "road trip", I wanted to see the Cherohala Skyway in North Carolina, which my husband had ridden and raved about the beauty. So, we set out for a weekender - this was Labor Day weekend about 8 years ago - and I had JUST purchased a HD Sportster 883 the day before we left. We were sitting in a restaurant the first night, looking at the map, and my husband says to me, well, we will be riding through Deal's Gap tomorrow.

Deal's Gap?!? I had heard of this stretch of road! I had seen youtube videos of "the Tail of the Dragon" (318 curves in 11 miles - google it!) I said no way - I can't ride that road. I have only been riding my own for a year and this is a new bike I am still getting used to! My hubby said, well, hon, if you want to ride the Cherohala, there is really no way to get there from here without going through the Gap. Scared? You bet - scared out of my wits and ready to turn back for home rather than go on.

However, the next morning, I woke up a little more calm and told him whereever he rode, I would follow, just don't tell me where we are going.

A couple of hours later, I am riding on this beautiful, windy mountain road. Which gets twistier and twistier. And as realization hits me that this has GOT to be the Dragon, I actually laughed out loud!!!

Point is, you can't live in fear. Trust your skills and get out there in those curves! YOU WILL LOVE IT!

And for the record, I am always just a little "squishy" right before any long trip, wondering what bad things might happen. But you know what? As soon as I pull out of my driveway and feel the rumble under me - all is right with the world!

Jul 04, 2013
First long trip
by: lea

What helps me, is have my husband behind me riding, so when i have tailgators he handles them.

Have Fun and Share your pictures with us.

Jul 03, 2013
Delayed Apex
by: Patti

I hope you can find this youtube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAqMl2qM7tE

It demonstrates "delayed apex", a skill technique for managing "twisties". I, too, was uncomfortable on twisting mountain roads until my mentor helped me master this. I ride a Yamaha 1100 V-Star, but my first bike was also an S-40. Fond memories! Good luck with your mototrip! Sounds like a lot of fun!

Jul 03, 2013
First long road trip = need advice
by: Anonymous

If you are in too high a gear, the bike will feel very unstable (like it's on ice or something). I keep my bike in whichever gear will maintain 3,000 RPM. My bike is happiest at 3,000 RPMs, sounds best, feels most stable and gives best gas mileage. Your bike may feel better at a different RPM. If you have an owner's manual, it should tell you what range to use, if not, ask an experienced rider or have your husband ride it and tell you.

You can carry the same amount of clothing in a smaller space than your husband can, unless you're about the same size. Most of our clothes are less bulky than theirs. There should be washers and dryers around somewhere along the way!

A rider's course, like the Motorcycle Safety Foundation classes will help you learn to control the bike and yourself in tight corners at slow speed. These skills make the mountains fun instead of scary! Have a great time on your trip - and many more.

Jul 03, 2013
I suppose I should add
by: Rache

That last summer, before my accident, I spent a week riding to and in the Black Hills and loved every minute of Needles Highway, Iron Mountain and the rest. Amazing! The hairpin turns are where I learned to always stay under power in the curves and use the clutch to maintain speed.

Jul 03, 2013
Good advice and I feel your pain
by: Rache

Experience is the best teacher. I went down on a ridiculously easy curve last year and totaled my Yamaha 650. I walked away pretty much without a scratch, but my confidence in the curves was very badly shaken. Yes, my tires were bald and that was a contributing factor that will never happen again, BUT I was the only one on the bike which makes it my fault. That being said, I now have a new (to me) Yamaha 950. I ride every chance I get, including to work, and I'm getting that confidence back just in time for a 3 week loop from Iowa to SE British Columbia, down through Montana, western Wyoming and back to Iowa. Yes, I'm nervous. It will be quite the road trip, and I'm ready. Just trying to say what others here have said, and that is RIDE. You've got the skills. Do what you're doing - practice them; don't try to outride them and your confidence will grow along with them. If you're worried about the cagers behind you, tuck in to a pullout, let them pass and enjoy the scenery...oh and most importantly - ENJOY the ride! All the best!

Jul 03, 2013
You can (will) do it!
by: Mrstarzan

I'm coming from Washington to ride up there next week! Although I've been to the Canadian Rockies a number of times I've never gone on my bike. I too, have had my reservations. Not to bring it up all the time, but I had a MAJOR crash in a curve two years ago on my first ride. I didn't have the skills that I do now. Also, I've been out riding this spring in the Cascades and it has really boosted my confidence. I'm now actually excited to take this trip.

It sounds like you have the skills too. Remember, the instructions you have been given work. Get out and ride as much as you can before your trip.

I ride a sport-touring bike so I know it's different than your S40. You know what your bike will do at what speed it will do it. Trust it and yourself. Have a wonderful trip!

Jul 03, 2013
those long trips
by: shelly

Relax and enjoy the ride! You know how to do this---go into the turns high and slow and come out low and fast. Be alert always and be confident in your skills. Don't psych yourself out. I also watch the speed signs posted at the curves to help me determine how sharp the turn will be (25mph, go really slow, 55mph just ride through). Have a great time!

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